HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY FARHAN HAQ, ACTING DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
FRIDAY, 8 NOVEMBER 2013
SECRETARY-GENERAL DISCUSSES SECURITY CHALLENGES WITH PRESIDENT OF CHAD
- The Secretary-General has returned to New York, where he is holding meetings at UN Headquarters on Friday afternoon.
- He returned this morning after departing Chad, where he met Thursday with President Idriss Deby Itno, in a delegation including officials from the World Bank Group, African Union, African Development Bank and European Union.
- They discussed Chad's efforts to tackle the serious security and development challenges facing the country and the region. And among other topics, they exchanged views on the worrying security and humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic, noting the need for greater international attention to the crisis. The full readout is online.
- The Secretary-General said to reporters upon departing the country that he leaves Chad and the Sahel with hope and optimism. He said he was encouraged and inspired by the strong commitment by the leaders of the region. His press remarks are also online.
U.N. SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE VISITS EASTERN CONGO
- The Special Representative of the Secretary General in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Martin Kobler, on Friday ended a two-day visit to the Eastern part of the country.
- During the visit, Mr. Kobler travelled by helicopter to Tchengerero and Tchanzu, areas formerly under the control of the M23 which are now controlled by the Congolese armed forces (FARDC).
- Mr. Kobler saw large quantities of ammunition and heavy weapons left behind by the M23, including artillery that was used to target the civilian population in Bunagana.
- The UN mission (MONUSCO) confirmed that 15 civilians were killed and two dozen injured during the bombardment of Bunagana by the M23.
- Mr. Kobler added that restitution of the state authorities in the liberated areas is now the main priority. He confirmed that a needs assessment mission including representatives of MONUSCO, the Government and donors is underway.
- The UN Mission will continue to neutralise other armed groups, in particular the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), and is also engaged in border surveillance.
- Refugees from Uganda and internally displaced persons have started returning to their villages and towns.
- Asked about Sultani Makenga, the Spokesperson said that MONUSCO had been informed that he and his senior commanders had surrendered to the Ugandan authorities.
U.N. POLITICAL CHIEF MEETS WITH TRANSITIONAL AUTHORITIES IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
- The Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, is in Bangui on Friday, where he is attending a meeting of the International Contact Group on the Central African Republic.
- At this meeting, Mr. Feltman delivered a statement on behalf of the Secretary-General calling for action to address the dire situation in the country. In the statement, the Secretary-General says that there is a chance to work together to reverse the downward spiral and to set the country on a path towards peace and stability.
- Mr. Feltman held talks with the country’s transitional authorities. He also met with the President of the Republic of Congo, Denis Sassou Nguesso, and other senior African officials.
- In a statement issued on Friday, the High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said that there is an urgent need for the restoration of the rule of law in the Central African Republic.
- Ms. Pillay said that unless immediate action is taken, both by the authorities and by the international community, there is a clear risk that the situation will degenerate rapidly and inexorably into a full-blown conflict.
- And the World Food Programme said on Friday that the conflict in the Central African Republic has put more than a million people at risk of hunger. The situation could worsen because of poor harvests and a drastic slowdown in economic activity following months of violence.
U.N. IN PHILIPPINES HELPS GOVERNMENT ASSESS DAMAGE CAUSED BY TYPHOON HAIYAN
- The United Nations and its partners in the Philippines are supporting the country’s Government in assessing the damage being caused by Typhoon Haiyan, which made landfall early on Friday morning.
- The Government has taken preventative steps to save lives by moving people from coastal and low-lying areas prone to flash-flooding and landslides.
- The UN Humanitarian Country Team and its partners have complemented the Government’s efforts by pre-positioning stocks to respond to the needs of those who are affected.
SYRIA: LARGEST EVER IMMUNIZATION RESPONSE IN MIDDLE EAST UNDERWAY
- UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) say that the largest ever consolidated immunization response in the Middle East is under way to stop a polio outbreak, aiming to vaccinate over 20 million children in seven countries and territories.
- UNICEF and the World Health Organization have organized emergency immunization campaigns in and around Syria to prevent transmission of polio and other preventable diseases and more than 650,000 children in Syria have been vaccinated.
- This is in response first polio outbreak in Syria since 1999, which so far has left 10 children paralyzed and poses a risk of paralysis to hundreds of thousands of children across the region.
- Asked about difficulties in bringing the Syrian parties to a Geneva II conference, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General and Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi continued their efforts to convene such a conference before the end of the year.
- He noted that Mr. Brahimi would take stock of the situation with concerned Member States on 25 November.
- Asked about reports of people being trained to fight in Syria, Haq reiterated that the Secretary-General is firmly opposed to any further militarization of the conflict in Syria.
- Asked about a Member State’s offer for Syrian chemical weapons to be transported there, the Spokesperson recalled that Syria had transmitted its plan on the destruction of its chemical weapons to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The OPCW’s Executive Council would consider that plan on 15 November.
YEMEN: U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY RECORDS MORE THAN 62,000 SEA ARRIVALS THIS YEAR
- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says that it has recorded more than 62,000 arrivals so far this year in Yemen, from 1 January until 31 October. The Agency remains concerned about the very high numbers of people who are risking their lives by making this perilous journey from the Horn of Africa.
- Yemen has seen six successive years of high arrivals by sea, with more than 100,000 people making the crossing last year. The Gulf of Aden remains one of the world's most travelled sea routes for asylum seekers and migrants. UNHCR has more details on its web site.
SECRETARY-GENERAL ENCOURAGES EFFORTS TO RESOLVE CONCERNING IRAN’S NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAMME: Asked about talks taking place in Geneva on Iran’s nuclear weapons programme, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General has encouraged efforts to resolve concerns about that issue through negotiations.
U.N. HAS NOT RECEIVED FORMAL NOTIFICATION FROM SAUDI ARABIA ON SECURITY COUNCIL SEAT: Asked about Saudi Arabia’s reported withdrawal from its Security Council seat, the Spokesperson reiterated that the United Nations has not received any formal notification from Saudi Arabia.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
9 – 15 NOVEMBER 2013
(This document is for planning purposes and is subject to change.)
Saturday, 9 November
There are no major events scheduled for today.
Sunday, 10 November
Today is World Science Day for Peace and Development.
Monday, 11 November
In the morning, the Security Council will hold consultations on Sudan/South Sudan and the sanctions concerning the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (1718 Committee).
At 10:00 a.m., in Conference Room 2 in the Conference Building (CB), there will be the 2013 United Nations Pledging Conference for Development Activities.
At 1:15 p.m., in Conference Room 6 in the North Lawn Building (NLB), there will be a briefing on the “Implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security”, co-organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
Tuesday, 12 November
Today is World Pneumonia Day.
In the morning, the Security Council will adoption a resolution concerning the European Union Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Somalia, followed by a debate on Bosnia and Herzegovina.
At 1:15 p.m., in the Economic and Social Council Chamber (CB), there will be a launch of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Human Development Report –Citizen Security with a Human Face: evidence and proposals for Latin America by UNDP Administrator Helen Clark and other speakers.
At 6:00 p.m., in the Economic and Social Council Chamber (CB), there will be a panel discussion on and screening of the documentary entitled “Rising from Ashes”, co-organized the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizations (UNESCO), the Department of Public Information (DPI) and the Permanent Mission of Rwanda.
Wednesday, 13 November
In the morning, the Security Council will hold consultations the Middle East (Yemen).
At 10:00 a.m., in Conference Room 7 (NLB), there will be a launch of the “Electoral Risk Management Tool (ERM Tool)”, organized by the Office of the Permanent
Observer for the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA).
Thursday, 14 November
Today is World Diabetes Day.
In the morning, the Security Council will be briefed on Libya concerning the International Criminal Court.
At 1:15 p.m., in Conference Room 7 (NLB), there will be a special event on “Millennium Development Goals achievements in the least developed countries – Lessons learned and best practices”, organized by the Permanent Mission of Bangladesh.
Friday, 15 November
There are no major events scheduled for today.